Imogen Browne is the main character in the novel Imogen’s Chance, by Paula Vince.
Janet: Welcome, Imogen. I’m looking forward to chatting with one of the voices in someone else’s head for a change. Please tell us the basics about yourself: age, employment, educational background, the usual “stuff” that helps us place one another in the world.
Imogen: I’m 24 years old. Until recently, I’ve lived at home in New York City with my family. My father is a paediatrician and both he and my mother are missionaries. My older brother, Scotty, is following in their footsteps. They’ve been very busy, helping to set up medical facilities in underprivileged areas of the world. One of their favourite spots has been way up in Australia’s Northern Territory. Don’t ask me what it was like though, because I didn’t go with them.
We’ve never had a typical family unit because there has been a steady stream of foster kids through our home ever since I’ve been old enough to remember. That’s been interesting. Not always good, because some of those kids have been pretty rough and mean to me. There’s never been a dull moment.
Since leaving school, I’ve done a bit of retail and secretarial work, as well as house cleaning. Nothing as noteworthy as the rest of my family, though. My parents and older brother are all very high achievers.
Janet: You live in Australia, right? Could you introduce us to your part of the country? What do you love about it? Anything you’d rather change?
Imogen: Australia isn’t my native home. I’ve just returned recently, to touch base with the Dorazio family, who I knew when I was younger. They live in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia. It’s surely one of the world’s prettiest spots. Everybody should visit, if they possibly can. I find the climate pleasant, even in the winter, which the locals think is freezing cold. I can’t help laughing when they say that. If only they could experience a Northern Hemisphere winter.
There are all sorts of colourful birds and quaint wild animals here, such as koalas, kangaroos, bilbies and echidnas. You have to see them to believe them. There are clear, aquamarine skies, green trees all year round, vibrant, crystal-clear oceans – although I don’t like to think about the ocean. Especially after what happened during my last visit to Australia.
Janet: Sounds like there’s a painful story in that answer. I hope this visit goes better and you find a way to enjoy the ocean again. I’d love to visit Australia some day. If Paula gave you airline tickets anywhere in the world, where would you go? And why?
Imogen: I’d love to explore the rest of Australia, just to see the sights my parents and brother have seen. I’d go further north to see the deserts and tropics. And I’d explore each of the capital cities on the eastern coast. They only difference is, I would go for fun rather than to work. I feel a little guilty saying that. I was brought up to please and serve other people before thinking of myself. If my answer comes across as selfish or thoughtless, please forgive me.
Janet: It sounds like there’s been pain in your past, but you’re not going to let it define your future. Would you tell us about this chance you have to make a difference? And did it come to you, or did you have to pursue it?
Imogen: To be honest, I can’t help fearing I’m on a fool’s errand. My parents certainly think I am. Here’s the story. I thought I was going to die in hospital, but it turns out I had appendicitis. While I was in pain, I promised God that if only the agony would stop, I would return and try to make up to the Dorazio family for some things I did. Well, guess what? The pain stopped, so here I am.
The things I did were accidents, but the Dorazios suffered because of me, so I should try to make up for it. It seems the right thing to do. I’ve made my own opportunity. I bought the airline ticket and came to Australia, but now I’m feeling a bit deflated and very nervous.
Janet: It takes a lot of courage to do what you’re doing. Do you think this will work out? What – or who – might wreck it all?
Imogen: Well, I was really hoping Asher wouldn’t be around anymore. He’s the Dorazios’ youngest son. I heard he’d got a really good job. I was hoping he would have moved far away by now, because he’s the hardest one to face. No such luck, though. He’s still here, and he’s grown really good looking. I don’t know why I even mentioned that, because it has nothing to do with anything.
Well, perhaps it does. When we were little, he never used to be intimidating, but now he is. If he knew the extent of the damage I caused, I hate to think what he’d say and do. Let me put it this way. He’d have a right to be really angry with me.
Janet: And what happens if it all falls apart? If you can’t fix everything?
Imogen: I guess I’ll just have to fly back home to America with my tail between my legs. That is, if Asher leaves me standing, when he finds out what I’ve done. I know he has a temper.
Janet: Forgiveness sounds like it’s an important theme in your life right now, and maybe loyalty too. What do those words mean to you?
Imogen: The word ‘forgiveness’ actually makes me tear up a bit. It’s such a loaded word. I forgave somebody for something he did to me, but I don’t think I forgave him soon enough. If only I’d forgiven him on the spot, things might have been far different. I’d tell anybody to be quick to forgive. Having said that though, I can’t imagine Asher, or any of the others, being willing to forgive me, if they learn the full story. I wouldn’t expect them to. Perhaps it’s because I’ve let so much time lapse before deciding to do something, even though there’s not much I can do. If anybody could talk them into forgiving me, I’d be extremely grateful (and very surprised too).
As for loyalty, I guess Asher would be the one to ask about that. I don’t know what he’d tell you, though. He probably thinks that his big act of loyalty created a huge mess. I can’t talk to him about it, though, because then he’d find out the full story about me. It’s all so mixed up.
Janet: And what would you say to people keeping family secrets?
Imogen: I’d be the first to say that being open and honest is the best way to behave. It’s easier to treat an open wound than one which has been covered up and left to fester. As it is, I have to creep around the Dorazio family, keeping my mouth shut, because I’m just not sure what each individual knows about the whole mess.
Now I’m beginning to wonder whether I’ve said too much in this interview. I’d better keep quiet. I don’t want to hurt anybody by dredging it all up.
Janet: Is faith a part of your life?
Imogen: I really want it to be. I mean, I guess it is. I was brought up in a strong Christian household. My parents did their best to help us become fine, godly children. It’s just that it seems to have ‘taken’ for my brother, Scotty, while I’m not so sure about me.
I’m trying to be faithful, but I don’t really know what God’s leading looks like. I believe I’m keeping a promise to Him by coming here to Australia, but I wish there was some way I could know for sure that it’s not just my imagination.
Janet: Maybe you’ll find confirmation as you spend time with the Dorazios. When you were growing up, your parents probably told you the story of the Israelites crossing the Jordan. The priests had to go and stand in the raging river before God stopped the water. It sounds to me like you’re standing in some pretty tumultuous waters right now, and I think God will honour that step of faith. Is there a particular song or Scripture verse that’s made a big difference for you?
Imogen: I’m clinging to Jeremiah 29:11, ‘I know the plans I have for you, to give you a future and a hope.’ I just wish I knew for certain whether coming back here might be part of His plan, and not just my own.
Janet: We all struggle with that one at times. What’s your favourite season? What’s that like in Australia?
Imogen: Summer has always been my favourite season, because it reminds me of long holidays, swimming and soaking up the sun. Here in Australia, it tends to get incredibly hot. Their heatwaves make the mercury soar for weeks. It’s a clear heat which blasts down on you, if you don’t wear a hat.
Janet: What do you like to do to recharge?
Imogen: I like to relax with engrossing books, or take long walks. I also appreciate good talks with friends, although with the people around here, I’m not sure what I ought to say.
Janet: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
Imogen: I’m really beginning to think it must be coming back here thinking I can make amends for what happened. It was a reckless decision without any forethought. But here I am, so I have to make the best of it.
Janet: I hope everything works out for you, Imogen. Thanks for visiting us today.
Imogen’s Chance released April 1, 2014 from Even Before Publishing and is available worldwide through the Amazon online network in print and ebook formats.
She has given herself a chance to fix her personal history. But will old mistakes bring up new emotions?
Imogen Browne longs to make up for past mistakes before she can move on. She quietly resolves to help the Dorazio family, whose lives she accidentally upset. Her biggest challenge is Asher, the one person who may never forgive her. And he is facing a crisis of his own. Imogen must tread very carefully, as trying to fix things may well make them shatter.
A sensitive story about misplaced loyalty, celebrating life and falling in love. Can family secrets concealed with the best intentions bear the light of day?
Come back on Monday to read my review of Imogen’s Chance.
Imogen, you seem like a fun, thoughtful, and very loyal person. I wish I could travel Australia with you!
I agree, Sara, and I’d like to tag along on that journey too.
Hi Sara and Janet,
I did something similar to Imogen’s wish, when we took a trip up the centre and back down the eastern coast of Australia when our kids were small. The youngest was only 2 months old. It was great, and I’d love to explore the rest of my country some day. Then, I’d love to travel overseas too.
So many great places to explore!
Great interview, Janet and Imogen! And it’s a wonderful book.
I agree, there was such a lot that Imogen could answer, without giving away spoilers. I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying the book.
Hi Janet and Imogen (Paula) I love this interview.
It’s wonderful how you can slip into your character and know her intimately like that. Your language is great. I have an American accent and grew up around Americans and you so sound American 🙂
I loved how you interacted with Imogen, Janet. Some of the questions and your insights were very personal.
This interview is a great challenge for me. I need to put in more time and work into getting to know my characters through and through.
Thanks so much.
Thanks, Linsey. Paula did a great job of bringing Imogen’s voice to life. I’m enjoying these interviews — it’s great for a reader to be able to chat with a character.
Thanks Janet. I thought it was great. Quite different from all the interviews I’ve been answering for myself (which I’ve been enjoying too).
I’m glad she comes across as American to you, because I’m an Aussie through and through, and all I really had to go on was what I’d learned through stories and the media. If I’d been asked the same questions as Imogen, I probably would have added that I’d love to visit America some day.
I’m looking forward to getting to Imogen, she sounds very interesting. I want to know how her life works out. What a smart idea for an interview.
I won’t give any spoilers, Liz, but you’ll enjoy Imogen. She has a good heart and she wants so badly to help this who family she’s hurt in the past.
It really is, isn’t it? I enjoyed giving Imogen the chance to have more of a say.
Great interview! And it looks like a great book as well. Visiting Australia is on my bucket list! Thanks ladies.
I’d love to visit Australia too, Lisa. You write from an exotic location yourself, don’t you?
I hope you do get to make it some day. You’ve been living in Africa, haven’t you? That would be a thrilling place to visit too.
What an intriguing interview. I loved hearing more about Australia, too since my daughter visited recently. Such interesting names that you never hear in NA, too. BTW, great cover!
Ah, Sandra, our kids go to these great places and don’t want to take us along! At least we can read about it.
Janet, I agree, that’s one of the best parts of books. We can visit far-away places through the pages.
I hoped your daughter enjoyed Australia. When you look at it on the globe, it’s so far from most other places, in its own spot in the south. No wonder we don’t get to travel back and forth more often. But how great it would be to do so one day.
Loved this interview, Imogen/Paula. Super effective device!!
I loved the idea of taking a character from out of the pages of her book to answer questions. It was a lot of fun.
Fascinating interview that shows Imogen’s wavering faith and insecurity. Sets up the book well.
I can’t always post the interview before the review, but this is why I like to do it this way — it does give a good setup to the book, and I think that makes the review more interesting because we feel we “know” the character. I always prepare the review questions before I read the review copy.
I liked the way that was planned, especially with such a short time between them.
I agree, Janet’s questions based on the blurb were perfect to draw just enough information without giving spoilers.
Janet and Paula, I enjoyed this unique interview. The story sounds compelling and I wish the best in sales. have been fortunate enough to be in Adelaide Hills. Have a good friend in Melbourne.
Thanks, Jude. I really enjoyed this story. Glad you’ve had the chance to see part of Australia. I keep wishing…
It’s great to meet you. Now, when you read about the Adelaide Hills, you’ll be able to picture the spot. I love it whenever I’m able to travel across to the east too, to visit Melbourne and especially the Victorian countryside. It’s the closest state to us.